June 20, 2012

Gov. Scott Walker, who never finished college, says he personally relates to the new UW on-line flexible degree program.

"I kept thinking I'd go back, got married, had one kid, had another kid, next thing you know . . . you're worrying more about paying for your kids' college education than you are for your own."
While many residents are looking for jobs, many Wisconsin businesses are struggling to find qualified workers with the specific knowledge and skills they need to fill tens of thousands of available positions, Walker said.

The UW System will work with faculty, students and employers to identify which courses of study Wisconsin needs most. Current workforce data identifies strong needs in business and management, health care and information technology....

UW Extension will be responsible for repackaging existing degree programs and breaking down courses into smaller pieces that students can complete on their own time frame, UW System spokesman David Giroux said....
So, for example, let's say you'd like to train for a nursing job, but you are working full time, you don't have all the prerequisites even to begin a nursing program, and the courses you need have only been available in certain semesters, and you're missed the deadlines to begin in the next semester. You map out what you'd need to do and it would take many years to reach your ultimate goal. But if UW plan works right, it seems that you could plunge in to the courses you need immediately, finish them as fast as you can, at home in the evenings, avoiding time away from work and avoiding commuting.

This could be a fabulous way to get to the point where you can qualify for one of these jobs that are actually needed. This seems so much better than complaining about businesses not "creating" jobs for people and trying to taxing or spending programs to get businesses to hire people they wouldn't otherwise want to hire.

Obviously, it must be done well.

45 comments:

Rusty said...

Hmmm. I'd like to take some mechanical engineering courses.
This could work.

Jana said...

Nursing is a great example. I think nursing programs need to modernize a bit, as the classes that cause the greatest bottleneck are the intro courses that have accompanying labs. When I was doing my nursing prereqs a few years ago, it took two semesters of nonsense just to accumulate enough credits to earn the registration priority to hope to get into anatomy/physiology or microbiology. This is a problem.

Of course, there is a lot more money in nursing than in nursing education, so that causes a problem as well.

Good on Wisconsin!

damikesc said...

Sounds like an outstanding idea...only if the cost is reasonable.

Scott said...

I was considering enrolling in a MSW program via distance learning from the University of Southern California, but found that the actual cost was higher than the same program at New York University (a very expensive school).

Since UW can enroll students anywhere in the world, this could be a money maker for the system.

Freeman Hunt said...

Is there really a demand for business degrees or is it for people qualified to fill business management positions?

jimspice said...

Maybe now the governor can finish up. Though I wouldn't suggest he take any labor relations classes; you have to prove competency.

damikesc said...

Jim, he ate he unions for lunch and showed what a pathetic paper tlger they are. Hell, he could teach labor relations.

Original Mike said...

I was going to make some snarky remark that our lefty commenters will use this in a lame attempt to insult Walker.

But I couldn't type fast enough, apparently.

Patrick said...

I bet this initiative really makes those who made fun of the Governor for not having a degree really, really mad.

Jimspice, it should be more than clear that the ones who showed no competence in labor relations were the unions and especially the union leadership. They were completely schooled by the governor. Completely. Laughably and embarassingly schooled. Who needs that degree again?

Gabriel Hanna said...

As long as the potential for massive cheating is addressed I'm for it. But remember that online courses are only going to be successful for bright, highly motivated learners who don't need much help--and cheaters who just need to get a credential.

damikesc said...

As long as the potential for massive cheating is addressed I'm for it. But remember that online courses are only going to be successful for bright, highly motivated learners who don't need much help--and cheaters who just need to get a credential.

Sooooo....it's just like going to a campus and learning on-site at college?

Roger Sweeny said...

Walker has to be concerned with the possible, but if we want to be utopian, there is a deeper question. How many of the requirements of a nursing program are actually requirements for doing the job of a nurse?

Everyone I went to law school with says that those three years suffer from both under-requirement and over-requirement. Much of the mundane practical requirements of legal practice are nowhere to be found. On the other hand, there are scads of academic courses. One is taught not so much to be a lawyer as to be a law clerk or law professor.

Lyssa said...

It sounds fantastic (if done well). My husband, also a college dropout who's always intended to go back, could really get into something like this.

Shanna said...

Is there really a demand for business degrees or is it for people qualified to fill business management positions?

It could be either that people already working are looking for certain business skills, or that people are looking to move up and need a degree to do it.

Either way, I hope it works out well because it sounds great.

elkh1 said...

"Since UW can enroll students anywhere in the world, this could be a money maker for the system."

A money maker makes imitators, makes competitors. The most famed schools will prosper, second and third tiers will die. "Most famed" is not synonymous with the best.

stealth pundit said...

I did my MBA in a "distance" education program. Lower tech than the internet - went to the local community college and watched professors on closed circuit TV. Worked great - trip to the main campus every 3 or 4 weeks (on a Saturday). This is an excellent idea and every state should be pursuing for both Bachelor's or advanced degrees.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

"Maybe now the governor can finish up. Though I wouldn't suggest he take any labor relations classes; you have to prove competency."

I see that somepetty anti-Walker types still hold a lack of a degree against the governor.

How does it feel to get your political ass kicked by such a person?

edutcher said...

Methinks Walker realtes to the average working stiff better than most union slugs, Demos, or Lefties.

jimspice said...

Maybe now the governor can finish up. Though I wouldn't suggest he take any labor relations classes; you have to prove competency.

The competency is how you move on, genius.

He's proved his competence to settle labor issues. He had an issue, he went straight to the people paying the freight.

Jack Wayne said...

Considering that every school caters to the staff and not to the students, this is a great idea.

Chip Ahoy said...

My favorite part was where the hand appeared out of the air and traced some words on the wall and the guys who saw that hand were all going, no wait. what? what?

What an imagination.

David said...

Lyssa said...
It sounds fantastic (if done well). My husband, also a college dropout who's always intended to go back, could really get into something like this.


I'm with you Lyssa. There will be a learning curve and the naysayers will use that to try to scuttle the idea. But they will fail.

alan markus said...

see that some petty anti-Walker types still hold a lack of a degree against the governor.

How does it feel to get your political ass kicked by such a person?


Hopefully the same way they felt that Diane Hendricks, widow of Ken, was able to donate $500,000 to the Walker recall campaign. Ken was a high school drop out who became a billionaire by founding a roofing supply company in Beloit.

FloridaSteve said...

If the business of education is getting knowledge into someones head then it's a freaking travesty that we're still talking about maybe doing this in the year 2012. We should have been doing this ten years ago and be leading the world by a mile by now. WTF is wrong wth us?

Steve Koch said...

I may have some (all?) of the details wrong but, IIRC, a comp sci prof at Stanford did an online course that had something like 160,000 people sign up and take the course. The top 40+ grades in the class were not enrolled in Stanford (BTW, Stanford has an elite comp sci program).

Bob said...

As some people have noted, what Walker is proposing already exists: it's Western Governors University (wgu.edu). WGU was established by a group of governors from several Western states, and now has more than 30,000 students. Anyone in the US can enroll right now.

A couple of states have created annex "campuses" (clearly not the right word), motivated, no doubt, by a desire to keep the tuition money from leaving the state. I think there's a WGU-Texas and a WGU-Indiana, and maybe more. Walker is just creating WGU-Wisconsin.

Peter said...

Online courses have the potential to do to the economics of teaching what recording technology did to the economics of music performance: that is, separate performers into small number of very highly paid superstars, and everyone else.

Alex said...

Why is Walker suddenly talking about college education reform? What's the scoop Althousians?

Peter said...

"I may have some (all?) of the details wrong but, IIRC, a comp sci prof at Stanford did an online course that had something like 160,000 people sign up and take the course."

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/03/ff_aiclass/

BUT the Stanford experiment included only the education component, not the credentialling component.

Although this has tremendous value in itself, credentialling is an important part of existing systems.

Jay said...

jimspice said...
Maybe now the governor can finish up. Though I wouldn't suggest he take any labor relations classes; you have to prove competency.


Yes, because reducing a $3 billion budget deficit (that he inherited) is like incompetent.

Idiot.

leslyn said...

@Alex,

Maybe Walker wants to go.back to school without having to worry about massive cheating.

TosaGuy: I don't hold Walker's lack of a degree against him; it's why he doesn't have one that bothers me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@danikesc:Sooooo....it's just like going to a campus and learning on-site at college?.

No. It is far easier to cheat online than in person.

Sorun said...

Walker's going to finish his degree for a presidential run.

fleetusa said...

I think this is a great idea.

As for cheaters, first, haven't you heard of open book tests. You still need to know where to go to find the right answers and college level courses aren't 4 + 5 = 9 in simplicity.

Second, they'll get the job and if they don't measure up in industry they'll be out.

A fine way to start breaking the university admin/professorship hegemony.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Second, they'll get the job and if they don't measure up in industry they'll be out.

By that logic, we should give everyone a bachelor's degree on their 18th birthday. After all, if they get the job and don't measure up, etc.

leslyn said...

Sorun said,

"Walker's going to finish his degree for a presidential run."

Great. Obama's birth certificate kerfuffle? --Nothing compared to the baggage this governor is carrying.

But that's OK. YOU take him.

Freeman Hunt said...

I imagine the courses will be online but participants will have to set up test proctoring with their local library or school. That's how it's usually done.

Freeman Hunt said...

Test even.

jimspice said...

Yeah. Walker's a GREAT negotiator. Can you imagine him as Secretary of State? "No. I don't need to meet with the ambassador. Just nuke 'em. Derp. Derp. Derp."

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Rusty said...

From Wiki, "He enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1986.[3] He attended college for four years but never graduated, working part-time for IBM selling warranties. His IBM job led to a full-time position in marketing and fundraising at the American Red Cross from 1990 to 1994.[11][14]"


TosaGuy: I don't hold Walker's lack of a degree against him; it's why he doesn't have one that bothers me.

Why?
From the look of it the sweet IBM income trumped college. Maybe he got his girlfriend pregnant. making a living isn't a crime. yet.

Angry Greg said...

A degree means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. It means you are trainable. Many very successful people don't have degrees. Those who are smart and work hard get ahead in our country.

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